Chatham Administration Takes Steps Toward Divestment

Author: Emma Honcharski

Following the October Board of Trustees meeting, President Finegold sent out a campus-wide email regarding future plans to place a larger focus on sustainability issues in Chatham’s investment decisions. The Investment Committee has plans to replace both a hedge fund investment and large corporation equity fund with alternatives that have environmental issues in mind, including greenhouse gas emissions and rising global temperatures.

Members of the Board will be meeting with the Sustainable Impact Team, a student-run organization that raises awareness of the environmental and social justice movement, and is working toward Chatham’s divestment from fossil fuels.

Students at universities across the world are bringing the topic of divestment to their administrations with varying degrees of success. Nikki Mammano, a junior studying Economics and the Sustainable Impact Team President, thinks administration will be more supportive of the club and the campaign this year than they have been in the past.

“I want to see their mission also be aligned with their investments, and not to see a school that prides themselves on being sustainable profiting off of the fossil fuel industry that causes so much destruction and harm to the environment and people,” Mammano said.  

In the upcoming meetings with administration, Mammano wants to focus on getting clarification on where the money is being reallocated from, and if the changes in investments will also include divesting.

The Sustainable Impact Team has an online pledge for Chatham to be completely divested from the fossil fuel industry within the next five years, and their next steps include having a commitment from administration that these goals will be met. Mammano emphasizes this as one of the club’s next steps, and “making sure administration knows that we’ll be holding them accountable and seeing them through this process, and whether or not they’re going to actually go through with it.”

“No other university in Pittsburgh has divested yet, so if Chatham was to be one of the next places in Pittsburgh to divest, we can be not only a leader for the rest of the universities in the city, but a leader of the climate justice movement all over the nation and all over the world,” she said. “An end goal would be for Chatham to be a leader… to continue being a leader in the climate justice movement and in sustainability.”

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